Dear Karma Cleanser:
I think the most embarrassing thing of my life has happened to me, and the worst part is I deserved it.
Let me start by saying that I have been stealing tanning sessions. My roommate and I both go to the same tanning salon here in town, which is part of a local chain of such salons. They have a computer network that tells all the locations your information. But my roommate and I discovered by accident that the computer has a bug in the system, so that if two people go to two different locations and both give the same name on the same day, you only get charged for one session instead of two. That way, she and I have been getting our tanning sessions for basically half off.
We had only done this a couple of times before last weekend. I went into the location near my apartment and gave my roommate's name at the front desk. I was led back to a high-impact bed and everything was going great. But after about five minutes of lying under the UV lights, I could feel my stomach starting to churn. I am too embarrassed to write exactly what happened next. I will leave it by saying that I accidentally made a (small) mess in the tanning bed.
As you can imagine, I was mortified. I cleaned up as much as I could then put my clothes on and ran out as fast as possible. I told my roommate what happened and now she's pissed at me because she says neither one of us can ever go to any of those salons again. We're certain they made a note in the system.
I know this was karma coming back on me for stealing the sessions, but how can I ever show my face in public again?
-- Sunburned Blonde
We knew that prolonged exposure to UV rays could lead to premature aging and the potential for skin cancer. We didn't realize it could also cause a sudden dip in common sense. Nothing good was bound to come out of your salon swindle, though we're frankly surprised that your digestive disaster happened on premises, adding insult to injury for the tanning staff. We feel doubly bad for the girl who had to mop up after you: Not exactly the kind of thing to make one look forward to a future in the Bronze Mines.
Make it up to that poor, baked patsy by sending her an anonymous gift basket of beauty products -- tanning enthusiasts do so love their moisturizers, you know. And let this be the universe's wake-up call for both you and your roomie that maybe you're spending too much time in small, enclosed spaces and disconnected from actual human contact. You live in the South, where tanning season lasts darn near through Thanksgiving.
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